Benardrick McKinney   LB/DE   Mississippi St

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Itís very obvious to me that Benardrick has been playing the wrong position at the college level. He is a perfect fit for an OLB/DE in a 3-4 defense because of his size, strength and length. He does a solid job as a middle linebacker and can play it at the next level, but if you want him to impact playing on the line of scrimmage, a 3-4 defense is where he will impact. He shows excellent strength and techniques to shed blocks and makes tackles. He has the ability to drop off the line into coverage and track down swing passes to his side of the line. He has the skills to rush the passer and, with his long strides, is the type of player who gets into the backfield in two strides and will hit the quarterback in three strides if you donít block him. Benardrick doesnít have the quick twitch that you might see on other players, but I think putting him in the position he can impact in with less thinking, you will see him develop into an excellent impact player.

CONCERNS
The knock on Benardrick is that he doesnít do well in coverage and can look lost on some plays, not dropping deep enough and, in general, is not good in coverage. Thatís all trueÖas a middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense. However, as I said, thatís not his impact position in my opinion. Those issues are not the issues to worry about as a 3-4 OLB/DE. So to me itís a moot point. He will have to learn better techniques to rush the passer, but he looks to be a leader and a hard worker.

BOTTOM LINE
If youíre going to evaluate Benardrick as a middle linebacker, I think youíre not doing the kid justice. He does a good job and he does have some limitations in that style of defense, but put him on the line like his college team uses him at times and you will see how natural it is for him to play from on the line of scrimmage instead of behind the line of scrimmage. He is a totally different player and if the team that selects him gives him time to unleash his talent, he could be a Calvin Pace style of defensive player with the ability to be much better against the run. He is very strong and I have seen him throw a 325 lb offensive lineman to the ground and not lose his balance. He has long arms and keeps players away from his legs. Benardrick has excellent overall talent and deceiving explosion off the line potential. The combine will be big for Benardrick; it should be interesting what his numbers are and how much he surprises with his athletic talent. At least thatís what I see on the film -- a player who is playing out of position and although he has done a pretty good job, he can be better if he plays the position his athletic talents fit best.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2015